Learn how Ben Hartman cut his farm down to 1/3 of an acre from an acre without taking a pay cut on this week’s pod. Ben Hartman is well known for adapting LEAN principles from manufacturing to his farm in order to cut out waste and maximize efficiency; that is the subject of his previous two books, The Lean Farm and The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables. However, even after LEANing up his previous two farms, he found he was working too much at the expense of family, friends and community. So he and his wife and farming partner Rachel embarked on a quest to radically LEAN up their farm, and that is the story of his new book, The Lean Micro Farm, and this podcast. Hear how, though skeptical at first, he was able to make as much income and support the family off of 1/3 of an acre instead of the one acre they were previously farming, which in itself is a big reduction from the 400 acres his family was farming when he was growing up.
Sometimes we can be stronger when we collaborate, and on this week’s pod hear from two growers with over 20 years of experience working together. Lyn Jacobs @la_finquita_del_buho and Polly Gottesman @pumpkinridgegardens each run their own vegetable CSA farms, and they’ve been collaborating to sell vegetable and flower seedlings, fresh cut flower bouquets, dried flowers and wreaths since 2002. This episode is packed with lots of great ideas and growing info, including how to keep your flowers distinctive at markets with other flower growers, how they manage the cooperative business arrangement between their two farms, and how to keep the personal relationship strong along with the business after more than two decades of collaborating.
PFAS are toxic chemicals that are widely used and have accumulated to dangerous levels in agricultural soils in some areas. On tomorrow’s pod we talk with Caleb Goossen, an Organic Crop Specialist at MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association) about why Maine may be the canary in the coal mine for this type of contamination, and how farmers in other areas can know whether their properties are at risk for contamination. As the Organic Crop Specialist for MOFGA he has been helping farmers deal with the repercussions of PFAS contamination, and we talk about the effects on human health, and how to deal with the situation if farm soils are contaminated.
Diversity of crops is one way to spread the risk in farming, and on this week’s podcast we talk about what Noah Poulos of Wild East Farm grew in this first year on his farm outside of Asheville, North Carolina. In addition to vegetables, crops include pastured meats and agroforestry, and we discuss how the short-term crops help them get into farmers markets and generate income while the longer-term crops grow. We also discuss their unusual lease that was set up to keep the property in farming, recap how the first year on the property went, what he learned managing other farms, and more!
Podcast host Katie Kulla illustrated a new book! In this episode she interviews Kevin Hobbs and Artur Cisar-Erlach, the co-authors of the book, "Edible: 70 Sustainable Plants That Are Changing How We Eat." Over half of the modern diet is based on just a few plants, however with a rapidly changing climate, plants that can thrive under more challenging conditions will become more important in ensuring food security.
Mimo Davis and Miranda Duschack grow flowers at Urban Buds @urbanbuds City Grown Flowers in St. Louis, Missouri, and we love this interview where we talk about rehabbing a legacy farm property including an old glass greenhouse, what it’s really like to grow flowers in the city, and what their markets are with so many potential customers nearby. We talk about how to get the most out of a small area, favorite floral crops and growing tips, why they keep growing ginger along with all the flowers, the impact of urban farms, and so much more!
Eli Wheat is both a farmer and a teacher, splitting his time between SkyRoot Farm on Whidbey Island, WA and teaching at the University of Washington. On this week’s podcast, we get to hear how he balances both, taking the ferry back and forth between the island and the city, and how different the University of Washington urban farm is from his farm!
Harvesting vegetables all winter long is what we discuss on today’s podcast with Catherine Sylvestre of Ferme des Quatre-Temps, in Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada. Catherineis an agronomist and director of vegetable production and leader of the market garden team at the farm. She is also the co-author of a new book, called The Winter Market Gardener, along with JM Fortier.
Farming can take a toll on the body, and this week’s podcast guest Cynthia Flores founded Labor-Movement to help farmers stay healthy through many seasons of farming. That’s because after 20 years of farming herself, she has felt the toll it takes on the body, and decided to do something about it! As a certified personal trainer and licensed massage therapist, we have a lot to learn from her about how to stay healthy through seasons of farming, including how to move to reduce injuries, how to recover from injuries, and how to get stronger in the off-season.
Nella Mae Parks went from a farm with lots of topsoil to one with lots of clay, and in the subsequent decade she has learned a lot about clay! Nella Mae’s Farm is in Cove, Oregon. Podcast host Katie Kulla and Nella Mae talk about the advantages that clay can provide (high water and nutrient holding ability), as well as the disadvantages (can be hard to work with, can turn into a brick if worked at the wrong time).
In this episode of the Growing for Market podcast, host Andrew Mefferd invites guests Billy Mitchell, Chris Callahan, and Andrew Chamberlin to discuss efficient systems and organization for packing sheds. We discuss the principles of good flow in a wash/pack situation and how to optimize cold storage in post-harvest handling. The guests emphasize the significance of creating a comfortable and efficient work environment by considering factors such as walking paths, space, lighting, and ventilation. They provide practical tips to improve work flow, such as identifying bottlenecks and rearranging workstations or introducing hanging shelving.
Strategies to create a clean wash/pack environment that guarantees good food hygiene and workflow is the topic of this week’s pod, and for the first time ever we have three guests! With three guests and such an important topic, it’s no surprise this became the first of a two-part episode, with the second part following next week. In addition to getting produce clean and safe from pathogens, a good packing shed will facilitate workflow that keeps the produce moving and people comfortable.
Adversity is something all farmers will have to overcome at some point in their careers, and on this podcast episode we talk with Anthonie Conner of 4A Market Gardens in Torrington, Wyoming, for a dose of inspiration. Anthonie overcame alcohol addiction, then threw himself into starting his market garden during the pandemic, in addition to holding down an off-farm job as a welder. We talk about perseverance, and how to stay motivated when you have weeds as tall as you are.
In this episode of the Growing for Market Podcast, we talk with Lane Selman, creator and director of the Culinary Breeding Network. Lane grew up on the citrus farm her Sicilian great-grandparents planted in 1919 in Florida. She studied agronomy and entomology at the University of Florida before moving to Oregon in 2000. As a Professor of Practice at Oregon State University, Lane has worked with organic vegetable and grain farmers, managed collaborative research projects, and executed marketing campaigns and outreach events for over 15 years. In 2011, she created the Culinary Breeding Network to build communities of plant breeders, seed growers, farmers, produce buyers, chefs and other stakeholders to improve quality in vegetables and grains.
Just your typical CIA to honey farmer story on this podcast! Tara Chapman of Two Hives Honey talks with host Katie Kulla about starting and scaling a honey business, with education and agritourism as important parts of the plan. After a decade of working for The Agency, Tara quit her government job to work for a beekeeper in East Texas, and was inspired to start her own unique honey business.